LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville received $750,000 to launch the Robotics and Additive Manufacturing Pathways to SUCCESS (RAMPS) program aimed at preparing workers for automated workplaces of the future, the university announced on Friday.
What You Need To Know
- The University of Louisville got federal funding to help prepare workers for automated workplaces of the future
- Workers at Kentucky’s multiple manufacturing facilities are expected to be disproportionately affected by the shift toward automation
- Made possible by funding secured by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth from the U.S. Department of Education, RAMPS aims to address workforce needs in the advanced manufacturing industry sector and enhance employment opportunities for underrepresented groups
Made possible by funding secured by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth from the U.S. Department of Education, RAMPS aims to address workforce needs in the advanced manufacturing industry sector and enhance employment opportunities for underrepresented groups.
In a news release, university officials explained that the skills needed by nearly all manufacturers soon will be shaped by a rapidly accelerating robotics and machine learning revolution, including automation, robotics, additive manufacturing and artificial intelligence.
RAMPS will allow UofL’s Louisville Automation and Robotics Research Institute (LARRI) and other centers to purchase additional advanced equipment, such as a robotic quadruped, and introduce future workers to these devices.
“We want to make this technology accessible for people or students who don't necessarily have the advanced technical skills, but they are enthusiastic,” said Dan Popa, director of LARRI and lead for the RAMPS project. “They want to learn about robotics, AI and additive manufacturing, how they are used in industry and what kind of skills you need to operate this type of equipment.”
RAMPS leaders expect around 200 students will be exposed to these technologies in the first year as part of pilot projects, followed by more robust and formalized workforce training programs and classes to be developed in future years.
The federal funding will allow LARRI, the Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science and Technology (AMIST) and Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC), all based in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, to obtain additional equipment and pilot programs to increase awareness and access to training in robotic and additive manufacturing technology over the next year.
“Manufacturing is a key sector of our local and state economy, and robotics and automation will have a tremendous impact on how businesses and industries operate moving forward," Yarmuth said Friday. "UofL is a national leader in innovative training programs, and through its RAMPS program, students will have access to the state-of-the-art equipment and training that will best position them to succeed in our rapidly changing workforce.”
Workers at Kentucky’s multiple manufacturing facilities are expected to be disproportionately affected by the shift toward automation, according to industry experts, making programs like RAMPS essential to advance employment opportunities in the future.
“While it is true that automation is expected to displace workers in manufacturing, the adoption of robot technology actually predicts wage growth as those positions are replaced with higher skilled workers in high-tech positions needed to interface with the robots,” Popa said.